Perhaps the current moment was inevitable. Around one-third of Americans support civil marriage for gay men and lesbians; another third are strongly opposed; the final third are sympathetic to the difficulties gay couples face but do not approve of gay marriage as such. In the last ten years or so, there has been some movement in these numbers, but not much. The conditions, in short, were ripe for a compromise: a pseudomarital institution, designed specifically for gay couples, that would include most, even all, of the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage but avoid the word itself.
This week, Paul Cassell, a conservative law professor from the University of Utah, asked the Supreme Court to overturn its most famous criminal- procedure decision, Miranda v. Arizona. But, while the campaign against Miranda comes from the right, the most powerful criticisms of the decision come from the left. It has long been obvious that the system Miranda enshrined protects the most sophisticated suspects, who need it least, and does little to stop police from using psychological pressure, lies, and trickery to elicit confessions from less sophisticated suspects.
The April 11 press release touting George W. Bush's new health care plan promoted it as evidence of the Texas governor's heartfelt commitment to helping "families caught between poverty and prosperity." But the attached "contact list" hinted at a different sort of commitment. Usually such lists are stocked with think tankers and academics. On this one, four of the five contacts came from two lobbies representing small business: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (nfib). This was no fluke.
As Bosnian Croat General Tihomir Blaskic waited limply in the dock last month, Claude Jorda, the French judge who serves as president of the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, lingered over his judgment before a crammed courtroom gallery. He described village upon Muslim village that Blaskic's Croat forces had ravaged. He conceded that Muslim forces had also committed abuses but rejected the argument--so often made by defendants in these courtrooms and by belligerents on the ground--that one group's crimes excused another's.
Next week's meeting of the International Monetary Fund will bring to Washington, D.C., many of the same demonstrators who trashed the World Trade Organization in Seattle last fall. They'll say the IMF is arrogant. They'll say the IMF doesn't really listen to the developing countries it is supposed to help. They'll say the IMF is secretive and insulated from democratic accountability. They'll say the IMF's economic "remedies" often make things worse--turning slowdowns into recessions and recessions into depressions. And they'll have a point.
The New Yorkers driven to the brink of riot last week by the shooting of Patrick Dorismond claim that Mayor Rudy Giuliani's zero-tolerance policy against crime has turned their city into a police state. Giuliani's defenders respond, in effect, that you have to take the bitter with the sweet. Yes, the shootings of Dorismond and Amadou Diallo are regrettable; but they are the inevitable side effect of the aggressive policing that has sent crime rates plummeting in New York and around the nation.
You can see why a third-party candidacy might look awfully good to John McCain right about now. In the last few months he has made himself into just about the most popular politician in the country. Yet he was denied his party's nomination in a process that--aside from its notable ugliness-- appeared to demonstrate that any candidate moderate enough to appeal to a cross-partisan majority is ideologically unacceptable to the GOP's establishment and base voters.
Marvin Olasky was right. John McCain's campaign is crawling with Zeus worshipers. George W. Bush's evangelical crony was a bit opaque in his now-infamous article in the February 16 Austin American-Statesman, but he was on to something: Jewish neoconservatives have fallen hard for John McCain. It's not just unabashed swooner William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard.